Dr. Daniel A. Smith is University of Florida Research Foundation (2010-2012) Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1994, and his B.A. (Phi Beta Kappa) in History from Penn State University in 1988.
Professor Smith’s research is motivated by furthering our understanding about how political institutions affect political behavior across and within the American states. He has published more than fourty scholarly articles and book chapters on politics and elections in the American states in the leading political science journals, including discipline’s most esteemed outlet, The American Political Science Review. His book with Caroline J. Tolbert, Educated by Initiative: The Effects of Direct Democracy on Citizens and Political Organizations in the American States (University of Michigan Press, 2004), examines the “educative effects” of the initiative process on voter turnout, citizen engagement, and political efficacy, as well as the indirect impact citizen lawmaking has on interest groups and political parties. Smith’s first book, Tax Crusaders and the Politics of Direct Democracy (Routledge, 1998), investigated the financial backing and the populist-sounding rhetoric of three anti-tax ballot initiatives: Proposition 13 in California (1978), Proposition 2 1/2 in Massachusetts (1980), and Amendment 1 in Colorado (1992). He is also the coauthor, with Todd Donovan and Christopher Mooney, of a widely-used textbook, State and Local Politics: Institutions and Reform (Cengage, 2013), now in its third edition.
Professor Smith has written extensively on the history of the adoption of direct democracy in the American states, the campaign financing of ballot measure campaigns, initiatives and referendums that have attempted to reform ethics and electoral systems in the American states, the popular support and fate of redistricting initiatives, the impact of anti-gay marriage measures on candidate elections (including the 2004 and 2008 elections), and the priming effects of initiatives raising the minimum wage. More broadly, he has published research on the effects of campaign financing and electoral processes in the states, and has written several articles examining the politics of redistricting and voting rights.
A seasoned observer of ballot initiative and candidate campaigns around the country, as well as elections, voting rights, and redistricting in Florida, Professor Smith’s commentary has appeared in or has been heard on numerous news media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, BBC, National Public Radio, Voice of America, and ABC and NBC News. Professor Smith has provided testimony to Congress, the state legislatures of Colorado and Florida, and the British House of Lords. He has advised numerous groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce and several US embassies and civic organizations in Africa, on voting and electoral practices in the American states. He has served as an expert witness in numerous legal cases dealing with ballot measures, campaign finance laws, redistricting, and voting rights, and was lead author of the “Direct Democracy Scholars” amicus brief in Doe v. Reed, which was successfully argued by the Attorney General of the state of Washington before the US Supreme Court in 2010.